How to grow organic herbs
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Common name, Botanical name, Family Height, Sun or shade, Cultivation Notes Uses
Ajowan, Carum copticum, Umbelliferae 3', Annual, Sow in pots or plugs to minimise root disturbance Seeds for curries, pickles, confectionery and beverages. M: sore throats, coughs, antifungal. TP: fungicide.
Alfalfa (Lucerne)1, Medicago sativa, Leguminosae 3', Full sun, good soil, Perennial Blend with mint for nutritious tea. Young shoots in salad or stir fry. M: tea is diuretic, relieves bowel and urinary problems, peptic ulcers, tonic. CP: Sweetcorn. PD: wireworms. GM. Excellent stock feed.
Alkanet, Anchusa officinalis, Boraginaceae 30", Sun, Biennial. Roots yield red dye.
Angelica3, Angelica archangelica, Umbelliferae 8', Semi-shade, Perennial. Dies after flowering (usually 3 years). Slow to germinate. Roots harvested second year. Buy fresh seed from reputable source. Take care, and do not gather from the wild: easily confused with hemlock. Stems candied, digestive, leaves for tea. Cook young stems with rhubarb to reduce acidity. M: root decoction for scabies, itching, compress for gout. Dangerous if taken internally in large doses.
Anise5, Pimpinella anisum, Umbelliferae 1'-18", Full sun, fairly dry, rich soil, Annual. Liquorice flavour. Leaves for salad, seeds for garnish, cakes, cookies. M: In Holland, seeds steeped in hot milk induce sleep, chewed as a cure for hiccups, digestive. Bactericide. CP: bean, brassicas, coriander. PD: aphids, ants, fleas, cabbage whites. PH: beneficial wasps.
Anise hyssop1, Agastache foeniculum, Labiatae 3-4', Sun or semi-shade, Perennial. Lift and divide every few years in autumn. Bees. Everlasting. Tea, flavouring.
Holy or sacred basil, Ocimum sanctum, Labiatae 1', Full sun, Tender annual Tastes like a cross between Basil and mint. Use in Thai stir fry with hot peppers, meat or shellfish (added at end of cooking), fresh in salads or cooked like cabbage. M: sinus problems and fungal skin problems.
Lemon basil, Ocimum citriodorum, Labiatae 1', Sun, Tender annual. Pot pourri. Oils, vinegar, leaves for tea, poultry/fish stuffings, ice cream, sorbets.
Sweet basil1, 5, Ocimum basilicum, Labiatae 2-3', Full sun, rich well-drained soil, warm sheltered position. HHA. Sow outdoors in final position in May or indoors March-April ½" deep, in peat pots, plant out late May 1' apart. Pinch out to encourage bushy growth. Bees. Scent: meditation aid. Use top 3-4" in tomato, egg, cheese and pasta dishes, soups, salads, and sauces, and when boiling shellfish. M. CP: asparagus, aubergine, bean, cabbage, capsicum, courgette, cucumber, tomato. PD: controls a variety of pests, flies and mosquitoes. TP: aphids, asparagus beetles, Colorado beetle.
Bay, Sweet, Laurus nobilis, Lauraceae 20', Semi-shade, Perennial. Grow in 15-18" tub to restrict height. Trim to shape 2 or 3 times during summer. Flavouring. Use leaves in curry, stew and with Jerusalem artichokes. M: Berries and leaves used, digestant; oil for rheumatism, bruises and skin problems; decoction plus honey/syrup as chest rub for colds etc.
Bergamot1, 4, 5 (Bee balm), Monarda didyma, Labiatae 2', Semi-shade, Perennial. Keep roots moist. Invasive. Lift and divide every few years in spring. Everlasting. Leaves used to flavour meat and for tea. M: tea to relieve nausea, vomiting and flatulence. CP: brassicas, tomato. PD: flea beetles.
Bistort, Persicaria (or Polygonum) bistorta, Polygonaceae 2', Sun or shade, likes a moist situation. Perennial Leaves edible, traditionally eaten in Easter ledges (herb pudding). M: diarrhoea, dysentery; decoction as mouthwash, skin wash for sores. Rootstock poultice for skin problems. Powdered root to staunch bleeding.
Bog Myrtle or Sweet Gale, Myrica gale, Myricaceae 3'+, Shade, Damp acidic soil, Perennial, germination difficult Yellow dye from roots. Leaves to flavour Gale beer, dried leaves to flavour soups and stews. M. TP: insecticide.
Borage1, 5, Borago officinale, Boraginaceae 2'6", Full sun, average soil, Annual. Make 2 sowings. Sow March to July direct into growing site, thin if overcrowded. Bees. Everlasting. Young leaves in salad, flowers as garnish or crystallised. M: flowers antidepressant. Not for long term use. CP: bean, brassicas, squash, strawberry, tomato. PD: Japanese beetles, tomato hornworms.
Calamint (Lesser), Calamintha nepeta, Labiatae 18", Dry soil, Perennial. Sow in tray April-June, prick out at 2", transplant Sept-Oct 18" apart. Leaves used with courgettes, for flavouring roasts and in stews. M: Leaves make a soothing tea, good for stomach complaints. Butterfly plant.
Caraway, Carum carvi, Umbelliferae 2-3', Full sun, average soil, Biennial. Sow late August/September in shallow rows, thin to 6". Thin/transplant to 12" in Spring. Seeds for flavouring bread, ragouts, cheese. Roots boiled as a vegetable, leaves in salads. M: expectorant, promotes onset of menstruation, relieves uterine cramps, promotes milk production. CP: pea.
Catnip (Catmint)1, 2, 5, Nepeta cataria, Labiatae 3', Semi-shade, Perennial. M: flatulence, diarrhoea, cramps, bronchitis. CP: bean. PD: ants, aphids, cabbage whites, Colorado beetles, darkling beetles, flea beetles, Japanese beetles, rats, squash bugs, weevils. TP: Colorado beetles.
Celery, Leaf (wild celery, ParCel), Apium graveolens, Umbelliferae 1', Moist, well dug soil, Sow thinly March to June, ½" deep in rows 12" apart, thin to 8". Salad, flavouring. Use (blanched) leaves in salads, sandwiches and soups, seeds as a herb. M: seeds bactericidal, as decoction for bronchitis, rheumatism, sedative. Root extract sexual restorative. Not for use with acute kidney problems, restrict use in pregnancy. CP: bean, cabbage, cauliflower, leek, onion, tomato. PD: cabbage whiteflies. PH: beneficial wasps.
Chamomile1, 3, 5, Anthemis nobilis or Chamaemelum nobile, Compositae 6-9", Sun, Perennial. Flowers for soothing tea. Skin wash, baths, pillows, hair lightener. CP: brassicas, cucumber, mint, onion. PH: hoverflies, beneficial wasps. TP: Compost activator.
Chervil3, 5, Anthriscus cerefolium, Umbelliferae 18"-2', Semi-shade, rich moist soil, likes humus, Biennial. Scatter seed August to September or March and rake in lightly. Thin to 12", remove flowers. Leaves with chicken and fish, in salads, soups, omelettes, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs and sauces and as garnish. Freezes well. M: Tonic. CP: carrot, endive, lettuce, radish. PH: hoverflies, beneficial wasps and others.
Chicory, Cichorium intybus, Compositae 3', Sun, Perennial. Flowers and chicons used in salad. Chicons also braised. M: juice of leaves and tea from flowering plant for gallstones, reduction of mucus, gastritis.
Chives1, 5, Allium schoenoprasum, Liliaceae 1', Sun or semi-shade, rich soil, Perennial. Sow in April in situ. Germination may take a few weeks. Divide every few years, discarding old growth. A cloche can prompt Spring growth up to 6 weeks early. Garnish, flavouring. Use leaves and flowers in salads, with eggs, cheese, soups, omelettes and mash. M: digestant, anaemia. CP: carrot, fruit trees, grape, parsley, tomato. PD: aphids, carrot fly, Japanese beetles, red spider mite, insects climbing fruit trees. TP: rose blackspot, apple scab, cucurbit and gooseberry mildew.
Garlic chives1, Allium tuberosum, Liliaceae 16", Full sun or partial shade, Perennial. Sow outdoors in drills in Spring and cover lightly, indoors anytime. Flowers and leaves in salads, leaves in any dishes where chives would traditionally be used, add to potato dishes, mix with cheese/yoghurt. Excellent with bean sprouts. Add to cooked dishes just before cooking is finished.
Clary (sage), Salvia sclarea turkestanica, Labiatae 2'6", Sun, Biennial. Used in soups and stews. Large leaves made into fritters. M: eyewash.
Comfrey1 (Knitbone), Symphytum officinale, Boraginaceae 3', Sun, Perennial. M: 1 cup of tea max. per day to encourage bone repair. Rootstock: as decoction, gargle for sore throats, bleeding gums, drink for stomach and intestinal problems, excessive menstrual flow; powdered as poultice for wounds, bruises, sores, bites. Not for long term use. TP: Fertiliser.
Coriander5 (Chinese parsley), Coriandrum sativum, Umbelliferae 2-3 ft, Sun or shade, rich limey loam, kept weed free, Annual. Sow April-May direct, ½" deep. Thin to 9". Harvest seeds in August. Leaves in salads and Indian/Chinese food, seeds in curry, stew, bread, cauliflower, beetroot, cream cheese and celery. M: Tonic, digestive. CP: anise, potato. PD: aphids, Colorado beetles. TP: aphids, spider mites. .
Corn salad (Lamb's lettuce), Valerianella locusta, Valerianaceae 1', Sun, Annual. Leaves used in salads.
Costmary (Alecost), Tanacetum balsamita, Compositae 2-4', Sun or semi-shade. rich soil, Perennial. Pot pourri & linen; Tea and brewing. Strong anise flavour. Use sparingly in salads, chicken, jelly.
Cotton lavender, Santolina chamaecyparissus, Compositae 18", Sun, Perennial. Everlasting. Moth proofer. PD: corn wireworms, Southern root worms.
Garden cress, Lapidium sativum, Cruciferae Very aggressive, there is no place for it in the vegetable patch. M: A healing herb with a high level of vitamins. TP: Insecticide. If planted at the base of trees, it will keep aphids away.
Cumin, Cuminum cyminum, Umbelliferae 18", Full sun, Well drained sandy loam, kept weed free, Annual. Sow direct in April in drills, thin to 6" in May. Gather seeds after August. Seeds used in Indian and Mexican cooking, soups and pastry. M: Antiseptic. Very good bactericide.
Curry plant, Helichrysum italicum or angustifolium, Compositae 2', Sun, Perennial. Everlasting. Use leaves in soups and stews.
Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, Compositae 9", Sun or shade, Perennial. Blanched leaves used in salads and as spinach substitute. Roasted roots as coffee substitute. M: rheumatism, gout, diuretic, gallstones. PD: Colorado beetles. PH: beneficial wasps.
Deadnettle, Lamium album, Labiatae Perennial Young leaves in salad. M: tea expectorant, for stomach and intestinal problems, as vaginal douche, in baths for boils and uterine cramps. Flower tea for insomnia. PD: potato bugs.
Dill3, 5, Anethum graveolens, Umbelliferae 2'6", Full sun, good soil, sow in clumps, October. Annual. Keep away from Fennel. Mild aniseed flavour. Seeds for vinegar and pickling, seed cakes and bread.. Use leaves in soups, sauces, fish, lamb, beans, potato salad, cabbage and apple pie (add at end of cooking). M: Tea for indigestion, decoction of seeds for insomnia, internal wind. Chew seeds for halitosis. CP: beetroot, cabbage, cucumber, lettuce, onion. PD: aphids, spider mites. Trap plant for tomato hornworm. PH: hoverflies, lacewings, ichneumon flies.
Elderberry, Sambucus nigra, Caprifoliaceae 8-15', Sun or partial shade (golden leaved varieties in cool moist shade), any fertile soil. Perennial shrub/tree M: many uses, see Lust, The Herb Book, p.131. PD: general insect repellent. TP: aphids, carrot flies, cucumber beetles, peach tree borers, root maggots, small caterpillars, mildew, blackspot and other fungal diseases.
Eucalyptus or Blue Gum, Eucalyptus globulus, Myrtaceae Tall, Tree PD: general insect repellent. TP: general insecticide.
Fennel1, 3, Foeniculum officinale or vulgare, Umbelliferae 5', Sun, good well drained soil, Perennial. Do not allow to flower. Keep away from Dill. Bees. Everlasting. Leaves with fish, salads, stews, cabbage, cauliflower or macaroni cheese, chowder, soup, seeds for pickle, tea, bread, candies. M: (seeds) coughs, laxative, tonic. PD: aphids. PH: hoverflies, beneficial wasps.
Fenugreek (Methi), Trigonella foenum-graecum, Leguminosae 2'6", , Annual. GM. Dye plant. Chopped young shoots in salads. Use leaves in curry or for tea, seeds eaten raw, boiled or in curry powder. M: febrifuge and oral contraceptive.
Feverfew, wild, Tanacetum parthenium, Compositae 2', Sun or shade, Perennial. Everlasting. Use sparingly with fatty meats. M: tea for migraine & arthritis.
Flax or linseed, Linum usitatissimum, Linaceae 2', , Annual Seed produces linseed oil, as cattle feed and edible when roasted. M. CP: carrot, potato. PD: Colorado beetle.
Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea, Scrophulariaceae 3-5', Biennial. Planting distance 12" M: Leaves may be used as a poultice to reduce swelling. TP: gooseberry sawfly. POISONOUS.
Garlic5, Allium sativum, Liliaceae 20", Sun, Perennial. For cultivation details, see Vegetable cultivation table. Culinary. M: Antiseptic. Excellent bactericide. CP: carrot, raspberry, rose, tomato. PD: general insect repellent, aphids, Colorado beetle, flea beetle, Japanese beetles, red spider mite. TP: aphids, caterpillars, codling moths, Japanese beetles, root maggots, rusts, snails and others.
Ginger, Zingiber officinale, Zingiberaceae , Semi-shade, Rich well drained soil, Greenhouse annual. Detach one bud from a root, root on a sunny windowsill with bottom heat. Detach young plants as they grow, pot on as necessary, finally into a bucket. Keep moist at 75ªF/24ªC, liquid feed regularly. Harvest and dry off just as it dies back. Spice. M: Bactericide.
Ginseng, Panax quinquefolius, Araliaceae 10-20", Shady well drained woodland, Perennial. Germination may take up to 2 years! Maturation up to 6 years. M: tonic.
Goat's rue, Galega officinalis, Leguminosae 3', Sun, Perennial. M. Said to increase milk yield in stock.
Goldenrod1, 2, 3, 4, Solidago virgaurea, Compositae 2', Semi-shade, Perennial. Invasive. PH: hoverflies, lacewings, ichneumon flies.
Good King Henry, Chenopodium bonus-henricus, Chenopodiaceae 2'6", Semi-shade, Perennial. Remove flowers. Use leaves as spinach substitute, blanched shoots as asparagus substitute.
Goosefoot white5, Chenopodium album, Chenopodiaceae 3'6", , Perennial. Dye plant: golden red. Leaves raw or cooked as spinach substitute, seeds can be ground for flour. CP: sweetcorn.
Heartsease, Viola tricolor, Violaceae 6", Sun or part shade, Annual. Use flowers in salads and drinks and as a garnish. M.
Hemp, Cannabis sativa, Urticaceae 6', Sun, M. CP: brassicas, potato. PD: cabbage white. TP: potato blight.
Hemp Agrimony1, Eupatorium cannabinum, Compositae tall, damp ground, Perennial M: laxative, diuretic, blood purifier. Used externally for sores and ulcers.
Hollyhock, Althea rosea, Malvaceae 8', Sun, Biennial M: Flowers have soothing properties for inflamed membranes, used for coughs and bronchitis.
Hop, Humulus lupulus, Moraceae 20', Sun, Perennial. Everlasting. Female flowers for brewing. Flowers and leaves in herb pillows to aid sleep.
Horehound1, Marrubium vulgare, Labiatae 2', Sun, Perennial. Bees. Everlasting. M: bronchitis.
Horseradish4, 5, Armoracia lapathifolia or rusticana, Cruciferae 2', Sun or shade, Perennial. Grow on a 2' mound to avoid invasion. Keep crowns disbudded. Harvest roots in Autumn. M: antiseptic. CP: plum, potato. PD: Colorado beetles, curculios. TP: fungicide for fruit trees.
Hyssop1, 3, 5, Hyssopus officinalis, Labiatae 1-2', Sun and light, limy soil, Perennial. Harvest just before flowering. Bees. Leaves, shoots and tops for tea. Very strong: use sparingly Chopped leaves in green salads, beef soups, flowers in soups. M: coughs and catarrh. CP: cabbage, radish. Good anywhere. PD: flea beetles, insect larvae, cabbage whites. PH: hoverflies, beneficial wasps and others. TP: cabbage white, other caterpillars.
Jacob's ladder, Polemonium caeruleum , Polemoniaceae 2', Semi-shade, Perennial. Everlasting. M.
Joe Pye Weed (Gravelroot), Eupatorium purpureum, Compositae 6', Moist soil, Perennial. Red dye from seeds. M.
Kolonji or (false black) cumin, Nigella sativa, Ranunculaceae Annual Bees. Dye plant. Used in Indian curry and Russian rye bread. Grind and use like black pepper. Seeds have a fennel-like scent, taste of peppery nutmeg
Lady's bedstraw, Galium verum, Rubiaceae 3', Shade, Perennial. Dye plant yielding light red, purple red, yellow. Once used to curdle milk and colour cheese. M.
Lady's mantle, Alchemilla mollis, Rosaceae 20", Semi-shade, Perennial. Everlasting. Leaves edible. M: Used to be an important wound herb and an infusion taken for excessive menstruation.
Lamb's ear, Stachys olympica or byzantina, Labiatae 18", Sun, Perennial Everlasting.
Land cress, Barbarea verna, Cruciferae 2', Sun, Biennial. Salads.
Larkspur, Consolida ambigua, Ranunculaceae 4', Sunny sheltered position, Annual. Sow direct in Spring, 1/8" deep, thin to 9". Trap plant for Japanese beetles. Seeds poisonous, sometimes used as parasiticide and insecticide. Flower juice with alum makes good ink.
Lavender1, 2, Lavandula sp., Labiatae 2', Sun, Perennial. Sow April to June in pots or boxes under glass or seedbed. Prick out at 2" to seedbed. Transplant September/October. Bees. Everlasting, pillows. Can also be used as a culinary herb. CP: brassicas.
Lemon (bee) balm1, 4, 5, Melissa officinalis, Labiatae 3', Full sun, Perennial. Bees. Leaves in fish, poultry, stuffings, soups, salads and milk puddings. M: female problems, depression, insomnia, cramps, catarrh, stomach problems, flatulence, migraine, toothache, safe during pregnancy. Crushed leaves as poultice for sores, bites, etc. 1.5g dried leaves/day improves memory acc. to research. CP: tomato. TP: liquid manure.
Lemon thyme, Thymus x citriodora, Labiatae 1', Sun, Perennial. Use leaves in fish dishes.
Lemon verbena, Aloysia triphylla or Lippia citriodora, Verbenaceae 3', Sun, Tender perennial. Fresh leaves in fruit salads, jellies, custards and as a garnish in iced drinks.
Lily of the valley, Convallaria majalis, Liliaceae 6", Semi-shade, Perennial External use only. Ointment for headache, rheumatism, gout.
Lovage5, Levisticum officinale, Umbelliferae 4', Semi-shade, rich moist soil, Perennial.
Do not compost.
Everlasting. Use leaves, seeds, roots in soups, stews, sauces and salads. Young stems can be cooked or used fresh like celery. M. CP: bean. Good anywhere. TP: general pesticide (sparingly). Do not compost.
Love in a mist, Nigella damascena, Ranunculaceae 18", Sun, Annual. Sow direct March to May or September, ½" deep, successional. Thin to 9". Seeds in curry and bread. Everlasting. Insect repellent when stored with clothing.
Love lies bleeding5, Amaranthus caudatus, Amaranthaceae 2'6", , Half hardy annual Everlasting. CP: onion, potato, sweetcorn. PH: ground beetles.
Lungwort, Pulmonaria officinalis, Boraginaceae 1', Shade, Perennial. M: Leaves as tea for diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, respiratory problems, coughs. Externally as wound plant.
African marigold3, Tagetes erecta, Compositae 2-3', , Half hardy annual. CP: brassicas. PD:  nematodes, eelworms, cabbage pests, fleas. PH: hoverflies.
French marigold3, 5, Tagetes patula, Compositae 8", Sun, Half hardy annual. Sow direct April-May or indoors Feb-April, transplant June 6-8" apart. CP: bean, brassicas, greenhouse plants. PD: whitefly, Mexican bean beetle, nematodes, eelworms, cabbage pests, tomato hornworm, Colorado beetles, many other insects. Trap plant for Japanese beetles. PH: hoverflies.
Mexican marigold Tagetes minuta, Compositae 6', , Annual, needs long growing season PD: mice, moles, nematodes. TP: Suppresses ground elder, couch, bindweed. Blackfly.
Pot marigold1 5, Calendula officinalis, Compositae 18", Sun, Annual. Sow direct March-April. Thin to 12". Pot pourri. Use fresh petals in salads and to colour rice. Also dry for flavouring cakes and biscuits. M: Flower tincture/ointment for healing wounds. CP: asparagus, lettuce, strawberry, tomato. PD: general pest deterrent, asparagus beetles, nematodes, tomato hornworms. PH: lacewings.
Marjoram, pot1, 2, Origanum onites, Labiatae 2', Sun, Perennial. Harvest before flowering. Use leaves in salads, sandwiches, stuffings and tomato dishes. M: coughs, upset stomach and headache.
Marjoram, sweet1, 5, Origanum majorana, Labiatae 1', Sun, Good soil, Hardy perennial treated as annual. Bees. Use leaves with chicken, rice, squash etc. and in sausages and bouquet garni. CP: good anywhere.
Melilot1 (Sweet clover), Melilotus officinalis, Leguminosae 3', Sun, Biennial Bees. M. GM. Forage crop.
Mexican tea (Epazote or Wormseed), Chenopodium ambrosioides, Chenopodiaceae 1', Annual Young leaves like spinach, reduces flatulence when cooked with beans. As a herb with beans, mushrooms, sweetcorn, fish and stews. Strongly scented foliage. M: Seed oil to expel intestinal parasites.
Milkweed, Asclepias, Asclepiadaceae   PD: aphids.
Apple mint1, 2, 4, Mentha suaveolens, Labiatae 2', Shade, Perennial. Invasive. Pot pourri.
Corsican mint, Mentha requienii, Labiatae 2", Shade, Perennial. Pot pourri.
Ginger mint, Mentha x gracilis, Labiatae 16", Shade, Perennial. Invasive Pot pourri.
Green mint or Spearmint1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Mentha viridis spicata, Labiatae 3', Sun or shade, moist slightly acid soil. Avoid manure, Perennial. Invasive. Sow indoors in seed tray, barely cover seed. Prick out when large enough. Leaves for tea, mint sauce, with lemon balm for vinegar. Use flowers in salads, leaves in salads, drinks, sprinkled on fruits, peas or squash. CP: brassicas, tomato, plants in general. PD: ants, aphids, cabbage whites, cabbage root fly, flea beetle. PH: hoverflies, wasps and others. TP: Colorado beetles, ants.
Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris, Compositae 3', Poor soil, Perennial Leaves once used for flavouring beer instead of hops. M: digestant, tea for coughs and fever, rheumatism. TP: fungicide. Insect repellent.
Mullein, Verbascum thapsus, Scrophulariaceae 6', Sun, Light soil, Biennial. Irritant. Everlasting. M: tea for coughs and colds.
Musk mallow, Malva moschata, Malvaceae 2', Sun, Perennial. M: Root decoction for coughs and bronchitis.
Black mustard, Sinapis nigra, Cruciferae   PD: aphids. Trap plant for harlequin bugs. GM.
White mustard, Sinapis alba, Cruciferae 20", Sun, fertile soil PD: wireworms. Trap plant for harlequin bugs. GM.
Myrtle, Myrtus communis, Myrtaceae 3', Sun, Tender perennial. Everlasting, pillows. Oil, vinegar. Use leaves with roasts.
Nasturtium1, 5, Tropaeolum majus, Tropaeolaceae 1', Sun, Annual. Sow direct April to May, ½" deep. Thin to 10". Transplant at 4". Use flowers & leaves in salad. Green seeds as caper substitute. CP: broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, fruit trees, radish, tomato. PD: aphids, asparagus beetles, cabbage whites, codling moth, Colorado beetles, squash bugs, Japanese beetles, whiteflies. Trap plant for blackfly. PH: hoverflies, lacewings, ichneumon flies.
Nettle2, 4, Urtica dioica, Urticaceae 4', Sun or shade, Perennial. Young leaves used as spinach substitute. PH: many beneficial insects. TP: various pests and diseases, aphids, celery rust.
Niebita, Calamintha sp., Labiatae 2', Perennial. Sow direct March-April. Thin to 12". Mushroom and bean dishes.
Welsh onion, Allium fistulosum, Liliaceae 1', Perennial, Sow April to early May ½" deep in rows 12" apart, thin/transplant at 4" to 10". Dies down in winter, ready for use from late August. Similar to bunching onion.
Orach, Atriplex hortensis, Chenopodiaceae 4', Semi-shade, Annual. Leaves in salads and as spinach substitute.
Oregano1, 2, 5 (Wild marjoram), Origanum vulgare, Labiatae 2', Shade, Perennial. Sow indoors Feb-April ½" deep, transplant May 8" apart. Remove flowers to prolong picking. Bees. Everlasting. Use flowers in salads, leaves in Italian, Spanish, Mexican food, with veal, lamb, goulash, stew, sauces, soups. M: Excellent bactericide. CP: cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber.
Parsley4, 5, Petroselinum crispum, Umbelliferae 6-14", Semi-shade, average soil, Biennial. Slow germinating: soak seeds overnight. Sow thinly March to August ½" deep. Thin to 6", then 12". Cloche December to March. Source vitamins C & A (1 tblsp=RDA). Use leaves with fish, vegetables, stews, omelettes. M: Tincture for coughs, bronchitis, asthma. CP: asparagus, carrot, chive, onion family, tomato. TP: asparagus beetles, general pesticide.
Pennyroyal, Mentha pulegium, Labiatae 6", Shade, Perennial. Peppermint tea: not suitable for pregnant women. CP: brassicas. PD: ants, fleas.
Petunia5, Petunia, Solanaceae varies, Full sun, Half hardy perennial CP: beans.
Poached egg plant, Limnanthes douglasii, Limnanthaceae 6", Sun, cool root run, Annual. Sow September or March, barely cover. Thin to 4". PH: hoverflies.
Field poppy, Papaver rhoeas, Papaveraceae 20", Sun, Annual. Seeds for bread. M: Herbal painkiller and cough remedy.
Opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, Papaveraceae 2', Sun, Annual. Everlasting. Ripe seeds for savoury rice, curries, bread and cakes. All other parts POISONOUS.
Primrose, Primula vulgaris, Primulaceae 6", Semi-shade, Perennial. Edible flowers. M.
Purslane, Summer and Golden, Portulaca oleracea and Portulaca oleracea aurea, Portulacaceae 6", Sun, best in well drained loam., Annual. Use leaves in salads, with vegetables, as spinach substitute, leaves and stems in stir fry, sautée, casseroles, omelettes and fritters. Older leaves used for pickling. Also used as a grass substitute & between paving stones. M.
Purslane, Winter, Montia perfoliata, Portulacaceae , Sun or shade, Annual. Use leaves in salads, etc.
Pyrethrum, Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium, Compositae 18", TP: insecticide.
Rosemary1, 2, 5, Rosmarinus officinalis, Labiatae 6', Full sun, poor light alkaline soil with ample lime, Perennial. Sow indoors March to June, barely cover seed, transplant to 3" pots, or outdoors May to June ½" deep, thin to 6". Put in final positions Autumn or Spring. Everlasting. Moth proofer. Use leaves with lamb, pork, chicken, grilled fish, aubergines, marrows, soups, stews, gravy, muffin batter, peas, potatoes, turnips, Rosemary wine. M: Relaxing tea. Hair tonic and mouthwash. CP: bean, brassicas, carrot, sage. PD: bean beetles, cabbage root fly, cabbage whites, carrot flies, Mexican bean beetle and many other insects.
Rosemary, prostrate Rosmarinus lavandulaceus, Labiatae 3-4", spread 3-4'. Sheltered area in full sun. Half hardy perennial. Culinary uses as Rosemary. PD: slugs and snails.
Rue, Ruta graveolens, Rutaceae 2', Full sun, Light well-drained poor soil, Perennial. Irritant. Sow shallowly April to May. Everlasting. M: hysteria, epilepsy, convulsions, repellent to skin and internal parasites. CP: raspberry, rose. PD: beetles, fleas, Japanese beetle.
Safflower, Saffron thistle, Carthamus tinctorius, Compositae 3', Sun, Annual. Seed heads yield yellow or red dye. Everlasting. Used to colour rice, seed oil as cooking oil.
Saffron1, Crocus sativus, Iridaceae 4", Warm sunny spot, Bulb. Use stamens as yellow food colouring. Remainder of plant POISONOUS.
Sage1, 2, 5, Salvia officinalis, Labiatae 2', Full sun, sandy soil. Soak seed, Perennial. Harvest June & August. Use leaves with fatty meats, fish, onions, eggs, cheese, scones and bread, flowers in salads. M: Tea to relieve colds, sore throats. Insect deterrent. Antiseptic. CP: bean, brassicas, carrot, marjoram, pea, rosemary, strawberry, tomato. PD: cabbage whites, cabbage root fly, carrot fly, nematodes. TP: cabbage white, other caterpillars.
St John's Wort, Hypericum perforatum, Guttiferae 3', Semi-shade, dry light soil, Perennial. Dye from flowers. M: antidepressant, rubbing oil for muscular pain; tincture is antiseptic.
Salad burnet, Sanguisorba minor, Rosaceae 1'-18", Sun or shade, poor dry soil, Perennial. Cucumber taste for salads and sauces, good for tea and vinegar, flowers as garnish. M: Tea for rheumatism.
Salad rocket, Eruca vesicaria sativa, Cruciferae 2', Semi-shade, Annual. Nutty flavour. Use young leaves in salads, etc.
Savory, Summer5, Satureja hortensis, Labiatae 12", Full sun, rich fairly dry soil. Annual. Sow late March and April ½" deep, thin to 8". Ready July. Cut whole plant. Leaves with beans, eggs, cheese, stuffings, soups, stews, meat loaf, hamburger, biscuits, dumplings, fish, pork, peas, cabbage and sauerkraut. M: Rub leaves on bee stings. CP: bean, onion. PD: Mexican bean beetles.
Savory, Winter1, Satureja montana, Labiatae 12", Full sun, light sandy soil, Perennial. Cut twice a year. Restock from cuttings every 4 years. Use leaves with beans, egg and cheese dishes, stuffings, soups and stews. CP: bean, onion. PD: Mexican bean beetles.
Sea holly, Eryngium campestre, Umbelliferae 12-18", Full sun, ordinary well drained soil, Perennial Roots dug in autumn, boiled or roasted as chestnut substitute. PH: hoverflies, lacewings, ichneumon flies.
Self heal Prunella vulgaris, Labiatae 8", , Perennial. Sow in tray April-June, prick out at 2". Transplant September-October. M: wounds, sore mouth and throat.
Sesame, Sesamum indicum, Pedaliaceae 6", Full sun, average soil, Tender annual. Needs a long growing season Seeds in bread, cakes crumbles and salads. Grind and mix with nuts, figs, poppy seed or honey to make a healthful candy.
Shoo-fly, Nicandra physalodes, Solanaceae 3', full sun, deep, moist, rich soil. Annual. Planting distance 12" Fruiting branches may be dried for winter decoration. PD: whiteflies.
Soapwort, Saponaria officinalis, Caryophyllaceae 4', Sun, Perennial. Keep well watered and provide support. Steep whole plant in water to produce soapy lather for skin rinses, shampoo and a gentle cleanser for delicate fabrics.
Solomon's seal, Polygonatum odoratum, Liliaceae 3', Shade, Perennial M: Roots are used. Poultice for bruises, inflammation and wounds. Tea as skin wash, Poison ivy antidote, menstrual pain, for diabetes (to lower blood sugar).
French (Buckler's) Sorrel, Rumex scutatus, Polygonaceae 6", Sun or semi-shade, dry rich soil, Perennial. Do not allow to flower. Sow March to May ½" deep, thin to 6". Use leaves with spinach, in salads, stews, sauces and omelettes and for Cream of Sorrel soup. Leaves used to curdle milk and make junket. Can be frozen.
Southernwood, Artemisia abrotanum, Compositae 3', Sun, Perennial. Moth deterrent. CP: cabbage. PD: cabbage moths, carrot flies. TP: cabbage whites.
Strawberry (wild), Fragaria vesca, Rosaceae 10", Shade, Perennial. Fruit rich in iron and minerals. CP: bean, Borage, leek, lettuce, nectarine, peach, pot marigold, mustard, onion, spinach. PH: parasites of the oriental fruit moth.
Sunflower1, 5, Helianthus annuus and Helianthus giganteus, Compositae 4-8', Sun, rich soil of pH 6-8, Annual. Sow March to early June, ½" deep, in rows 18" apart. Thin to 6". Or in 3" pots Feb. on, transplant late May. Bees. Use seeds as snacks, in salads (very nutritious). Seeds yield cooking oil. CP: bean, cucumber.
Sweet cicely, Myrrhis odorata, Umbelliferae 2-3', Semi-shade, acid moist soil, Perennial. Sow July. Leaves add anise flavour to salads, root vegetables and soup, as a sweetener in cooked fruit, seeds with cabbage, blanched stalks as celery substitute, roots as cooked vegetable. M: ½ tsp. powdered root in brandy for flatulence and colic.
Tansy4, 5, Tanacetum vulgare, Compositae 2-3', Semi-shade, rich fertile soil, Perennial. Everlasting. Meat preservative, insect repellent. Chartreuse flavouring. Salad dressings, omelettes, cakes, stews and tansy pudding. Use sparingly. CP: blackberry, fruit trees, pepper, potato, rose, raspberry. PD: ants, aphids, cabbage whites, Colorado beetles, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, striped cucumber beetles, cutworms. PH: ladybirds. TP: general fungicide, damping off.
Tarragon, French5, Artemisia dracunculus, Compositae 2'6", Full sun, average loamy soil, protect from wind, Perennial. Harvest in early July before flowering and September. Tarragon vinegar. Dried leaves with fish, chicken, eggs, vegetables, salad dressing, white sauce, tartar sauce. M: Very good bactericide. CP: aubergine. Good anywhere.
(Fuller's) Teasel4, Dipsacus fullonum, Dipsacaceae 4', Sun, Biennial. The hooked spine teasel used for napping cloth. Everlasting.
Thorn apple Datura stramonium, Solanaceae 2', , Annual POISONOUS.
Thyme1, 2, 5, Thymus vulgaris, Labiatae 8", Full sun, sandy soil, will layer if mulched in fall, Perennial. Harvest in early June and late August. Pot pourri. Tea. Meat preservative. Use leaves in stews, soups, stuffing, with tomatoes and courgettes. M: Tonic. Antiseptic. Very good bactericide. CP: aubergine, brassicas. Good anywhere. PD: cabbage whites, whiteflies, cabbage root fly. TP: cabbage white, other caterpillars.
Tobacco, Nicotiana tabacum, Solanaceae 3', Full sun, Annual TP: steep leaves 24 hours, add soap for insect spray. POISONOUS.
Tormentil, Potentilla erecta, Rosaceae 4", Full sun, Acid soil, Perennial Red dye. M: Roots for cuts, burns, wounds, diarrhoea, gargle for sore throat. Decoction of root for toothache.
Valerian, Valeriana officinalis, Valerianaceae 4', Shade, Perennial. M: Tranquilliser, sedative, migraine, neuralgia. CP: good anywhere. TP: flower stimulant (not for lettuces, carrots and onions).
Vervain, Verbena officinalis, Verbenaceae 3', Sun, Perennial. Tea. Hair rinse. Tonic.
Violet, Sweet, Viola odorata, Violaceae 3", Semi-shade, Perennial. Flowers edible and can be crystallised.
Viper's bugloss1, Echium vulgare, Boraginaceae 1', Sun, Light, poor soil, Biennial Bees. M: Headaches, fevers and nervous complaints, snake bites.
Watercress, Nasturtium officinale, Cruciferae 6", Shade, Perennial. Salads. Good source of vitamin C.
Woad, Isatis tinctoria, Cruciferae 3'+, , Biennial Bees. Blue dye made from crushed, partially dried leaves exposed to air. Branches with seed heads as everlasting. PD: wireworms.
Woodruff, Sweet, Galium odoratum, Rubiaceae 6", Shade, Perennial. Keep well watered. Pot pourri.
Wormwood5, Artemisia absinthium, Compositae 3', Sun, Light soil, Perennial. Keep plant away from everything else: hinders plant growth & discourages earthworms. Everlasting. PD: general insecticide, mice and other rodents, slugs and snails. TP: aphids, fleas, rust. Chopped leaves deter cabbage caterpillars. As a border, keeps animals out. Do not compost.
Yarrow2, 4, 5, Achillea millefolium, Compositae 3', Sun, Perennial. Invasive. Everlasting. M: Wounds, colds, fever, skin cleanser, high blood pressure. CP: good anywhere. PH: ladybirds, predatory wasps, hoverflies, lacewings etc. TP: Compost activator.
  Attracts: 1 bees, 2 butterflies, 3 hoverflies.
 Invasive 5 Companion plant
CP: Companion plant
PD: Pest deterrent
GM: Green manure
PH: Predator host
M: Medicinal
TP: Treatment plant

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